Now, I often disagree with what he writes, but hardly ever comment (once a month at most), albeit critically. As the poster liam notes in the same conversation, people usually just talk past each other. I'm well aware that Michael Bayly has lived many years as a "progressive, gay Catholic" and that no little post of mine is going to change his mind. But what provokes me every once in a while is when he tries to use the teaching of the Catholic Church to support his argument. It is often done without direct quotation or reference, and when the reference is given it is always yanked away from the immediate and contradictory context.
I think it's one thing to argue that the Catholic Church is simply bunk and that it should change. Many people do. But when a man tries to convince me that people who believe in the traditional teachings of the Church are simply misunderstanding what Jesus/Paul/Peter/early Church Father X/Vatican II REALLY MEANT it seems to me that he is either purposely misleading or blindly ignorant. In such a circumstance I thinks it's useful to point out where he is contradicted by the very document he cites. It may not change his mind, but it will hopefully render his rhetoric less effective on other readers.
So, here are Mr. Bayly's words...
We concluded our letter [to the MN deacons] by noting that:...and my (unapproved) response:
It is our understanding that the diaconate ministry was developed, in large part, to provide pastoral outreach to persons on the margins of both the Church and society, and that this outreach places great emphasis on listening to where people are at on their journey rather than on preaching of doctrine. There is a place for, and value in, helping people discern where and how God is present and active in their lives – including LGBT lives. The Church itself can and has benefited from such discernment. The Vatican II document “Dei Verbum” says that the Catholic tradition develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit, and that this development of tradition occurs “through the intimate understanding of spiritual things [that believers] experience.” In this way, “Dei Verbum” states, the Church “constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth.”
This foundational teaching of Vatican II clearly teaches that the Church is still developing and growing. It’s a teaching that also refutes the idea that to be a good Catholic means, first of all, unquestioning obedience to those who have placed themselves over us and who declare that they possess truths that others do not.
Yet sadly, such an absolutist approach is exactly what the Courage apostolate advocates. From our perspective, and perhaps yours too, such an approach fails to embody those diaconate traditions and charisms of listening and openness to God in the lives and relationships of all.
That you choose to quote to documents of Vatican II would seem at first to be an improvement. However, I find your selective quotation of Dei Verbum to be rather disingenuous. Am I to understand that in quoting DV in support of the "foundational teaching" of the development of doctrine that you accept the authority of this document? If so, then you are misunderstanding the council fathers if you think that the bishops are "those who have placed themselves over us and who declare that they possess truths that others do not." Dei Verbum also has this to say:
The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13).
As a sacred synod has affirmed, God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certainty from created reality by the light of human reason (see Rom. 1:20); but teaches that it is through His revelation that those religious truths which are by their nature accessible to human reason can be known by all men with ease, with solid certitude and with no trace of error, even in this present state of the human race. (7)
7. In His gracious goodness, God has seen to it that what He had revealed for the salvation of all nations would abide perpetually in its full integrity and be handed on to all generations. Therefore Christ the Lord in whom the full revelation of the supreme God is brought to completion (see Cor. 1:20; 3:13; 4:6), commissioned the Apostles to preach to all men that Gospel which is the source of all saving truth and moral teaching, (1) and to impart to them heavenly gifts. ...
But in order to keep the Gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the Apostles left bishops as their successors, "handing over" to them "the authority to teach in their own place."(3) (DV 4-7, emphasis added)
Is it is this context that the snippet you quote occurs, in section 8. The bishops are established by God with the authority to teach the truth; they did not place themselves over us. It is the Holy Spirit who revealed his truth to the Church that can be found nowhere else; revelation that was completed through the Apostles and can be known with certainty. That same Spirit of God confirms the truth within each believer. He does not contradict what he has said, but rather we come to a fuller understanding of what was revealed.
How can we know with certainty now the truth which may be contradicted tomorrow by people such as yourself who would overthrow tradtional Christian moral teachings?
Do you really think that Dei Verbum supports your notion that the entire hierarchical structure of the Catholic Church is false and that what the magisterium teaches regarding sexual morality is oppressive toward LGBT people? It seem to me that you are merely using whatever phrases you can cobble together to try and effect the change you want.